In our guide to the MTG Commander deck ratio, we discussed the importance of building a strong mana base briefly. This is even more important when you’re building a multi-color deck.
For a single-color deck, it’s simple: you can usually just add as many lands as you need. When you’re playing with multiple colors, though, you need the corresponding lands for each color. And sometimes, even when you have your lands parceled out into a fitting number for each color, you still don’t end up drawing into the colors you need when you need them.
Enter mana rocks. These cards excel at generating mana for you, whether it’s colored or colorless mana. It’s true that some are better than others, though, so which ones are worth your consideration?
In this guide, we’ll show you the best MTG Commander mana rocks and briefly discuss them all. Let’s get started…
What is a Mana Rock, and Why Should You Use One?
If you just started playing Magic: the Gathering, you might be wondering to yourself, “what is a mana rock?” Even further, you may be asking yourself if they’re really that important.
A considerably basic definition of a mana rock is an artifact that generates mana. That may not be the only thing said artifact does, but it does need to be one of its functions.
As for whether or not you should use one (or more) in your Commander deck, the answer is…it depends. Mana rocks are most useful in multi-colored decks, in which it’s not always guaranteed you’ll have all the types of lands you need. In those situations, mana rocks that can produce mana of the correct colors are stabilizers that help ensure your deck plays consistently.
Another situation in which mana rocks would be useful is a deck with a high mana curve. That’s just another way of saying that your deck has a large number of high-costed cards. You’ll want to ramp up quickly in these decks so you can cast your most powerful cards even sooner. Given that you can generally only play one land per turn, a mana rock can help you get ahead.
Really, the main situation in which you wouldn’t use mana rocks in Commander is if you were playing a Commander deck that has generally low-costed cards. You don’t necessarily need to make up for a lack of mana when your cards only cost a couple, anyway.
Best MTG Commander Mana Rocks
Chromatic Lantern is definitely one of the better mana rocks you can use in a Commander deck. For just three generic mana (mana that can be paid with any color), Chromatic Lantern turns all your lands into cards that can produce mana of any color.
Of course, Chromatic Lantern itself also produces one mana of any color. It’s a win-win situation for you that will guarantee you always have access to any color you need when you need it.
If ever there was a card that represented the Commander format, it’s Sol Ring. You should have a whole stockpile of these in your collection if you build Commander decks, because there’s almost no downside to throwing it into them.
The “dream hand” is usually a starting hand that includes Sol Ring. That way, you can throw down a land, immediately tap it, and put down a Sol Ring. This card is perfect for helping you get ahead in the beginning if you’re lucky enough to draw it right away.
Arcane Signet is a card that’s really only useful for Commander or Brawl formats. That is because, as you can see, it only produces one mana of any color in your Commander’s color identity. (In a deck without a Commander, it literally produces nothing.)
But in Commander, it’s an excellent mana rock to have on hand, especially in multi-color decks. With a multi-color Commander, it can produce even more types of mana for you to use for your spells. This is another classic card.
This is a bit of a weird card, but don’t let that steer you away from it. Mana Crypt is extremely powerful, even with the risk of damage it could cause to you.
First of all, Mana Crypt is free to cast. Once you get it out, it will consistently be able to produce two colorless mana for you. You will need to flip a coin and face the possibility of taking three damage on each of your upkeeps, but that’s honestly a small price to pay for its benefits.
Given how expensive Mana Crypt tends to be, it’s not feasible to have it in all your decks. However, if you’re in a position to buy one, we suggest incorporating it in whichever of your decks needs a stabler mana base.
While not necessarily the most powerful one on this list, we still think Thran Dynamo’s usefulness is undeniable. If you find yourself consistently short on mana, adding this artifact to your deck might help level the playing field.
For a simple four generic mana, Thran Dynamo gives you the guarantee of being able to tap it for three colorless mana. You can use those colorless mana to pay for the generic costs of your pricier spells or to cast colorless spells, such as eldrazi.
Here is another Commander staple, especially for multicolor decks. If you’re building with two-, three-, four-, or even five-colored Commanders, a Commander’s Sphere is warranted. It gives you the ability to produce one mana from your Commander’s color identity by tapping it.
The more colors you’re using, the harder it is to guarantee you have access to all of them. Commander’s Sphere can make it just a bit easier.
However, it comes with an additional ability that’s also useful: you can sacrifice it to draw a card. Later on in the game, when you’ve had time to amass other mana sources, Commander’s Sphere may have outlasted its usefulness as a mana rock. That’s when you can sacrifice it for a little card advantage instead.
Gilded Lotus calls another much more famous card called Black Lotus to mind. Black Lotus is infamous to this day for its ability to generate three mana of one color for a jaw-dropping casting cost of zero.
Such a card is too powerful for most formats. Gilded Lotus rectifies that imbalance of power by making you pay an up-front casting cost of five.
We’d recommend this one for mono-colored decks that have a high mana curve. Some tribal decks in mono colors, like a white angel deck, would really benefit from it, since it adds three mana of a single color to your mana pool.
This is another solid mana rock to add to just about any Commander deck. Fellwar Stone allows you to produce a mana of any color your opponents would be able to make.
It’s obviously most useful if your opponents are playing with similar colors to you, but that doesn’t mean it’s useless even if there is no overlap between your colors. If your opponents are using colors completely different from your own, you can still use Fellwar Stone to pay for the generic mana costs on many cards.
What we love about Thought Vessel is that it’s another multi-faceted mana rock. It doesn’t just give you one colorless mana – it also removes the maximum limit to your hand size.
We’ve said a few times before that being able to draw cards is almost always a good thing. There are some times, however, when it can become very bad, such as when you draw far more cards than you can afford to cast. Then you are forced to discard down to the standard maximum hand size, seven, at the end of your turn.
With Thought Vessel, this is no longer an issue. You can draw as many cards as you like and hold onto them until it’s possible for you to cast them.
Jeweled Lotus is another card that tends to be on the costlier side as far a purchasing it goes. There’s a good reason for this, though: it basically just gives you three free mana.
Before you get overly excited, thinking it’s just another name for Black Lotus, it’s important to look at the second sentence in its text. The mana Jeweled Lotus gives to you can only be used to cast your Commander.
Keep in mind that many Commanders come in multiple colors. Jeweled Lotus can’t pay the whole cost for such Commanders, but it can partially pay the cost or be used to tap another mana rock that produces mana of the color you need.
Read Also: 10 Best MTG Black White Commanders
Mana Rock Questions
How many mana rocks are there in EDH?
EDH/Commander is an eternal format. This means that, unlike with Standard, the legal cards don’t rotate out with the release of new sets. As a result, Commander’s potential library for cards to draw from is just about every card in existence (aside from whatever is on the Commander ban list.)
So, to answer the question of how many mana rocks are usable in EDH, you just need to confirm how many mana rocks there are total. There are approximately 104 total mana rocks in MTG, and six of those mana rocks are currently banned in Commander. Another couple of those are cards from unsets, which are basically joke cards. Thus, there are a total of around 96 potential mana rocks you can use.
Are mana rocks good?
Wondering if mana rocks in general are good? Unfortunately, like with most other things in Magic, the answer is, “it depends.”
Obviously, choosing a mana rock that produces the wrong color for you deck isn’t good. The measure of a mana rock’s usefulness is how well it synergizes with the deck you’re putting it in.
In general, though, it’s almost never a bad idea to include a few in your deck. At their core, mana rocks are there to help stabilize your mana base. If you’re consistently missing land drops for a specific color or you just have high-mana cards, a good mana rock can help you catch up.
Artifacts can do much more than generate mana. Take a look at our list of the best MTG artifacts with activated abilities to see what else they can do.
Are mana rocks ramp?
We’d define “ramp” as anything that increases your current mana pool. Since mana rocks give you more mana to work with, whether that mana can be repeatedly generated or not, we feel they qualify as ramp.
How many mana rocks should I have in a Commander deck?
Building a deck is a confusing endeavor, especially if you’re a beginner. Your mana base will be one of the more complicated parts, and unfortunately, there’s no set-in stone guidance for how to make it. That includes your mana rocks.
You’ll need to experiment by play-testing your deck. Start by having several cards dedicated to helping you ramp into more mana, some of which may be mana rocks. You can then determine if you need more or even less by playing your deck and seeing if you use those rocks often, if you don’t use them much at all, or if use them and still need more mana after using them.
At the end of the day, if you’re asking yourself whether you should add a mana rock to your Commander deck, the answer is that you likely should. Mana rocks are a consistent way of helping you build a sturdy mana base that you can rely upon.
And if you’re worried about potentially wasting a space in your deck on a mana rock, keep in mind that they can also have multiple abilities. It doesn’t have to only produce mana.